Tossin’ It Out There: What Are YOUR Favorite Movies About Sickness?

So. I was rockin’ the fever pretty bad this week. Felt a little like Cameron Frye, except Ferris wouldn’t have been able to do a damn thing to help. LOL.

And, as such, I figured, well, we might as well cover this base for our discussion series. What are YOUR favorite movies regarding sickness, illness, battling death, etc…There’s a number of movies out there that revolve around getting ill – 50/50 being theย most recentย that springs to mind – and many more that have someone’s illness as a subplot.

I’ve never been the hugest fan of the subgenre. Personally? Who wants to be sick? So why do you want to WATCH people be sick in the movies?

But its undeniable that the subject hasย made their mark on the movies, and so, we discuss!

What are YOUR favorite movies involving illness?


71 thoughts on “Tossin’ It Out There: What Are YOUR Favorite Movies About Sickness?

      • Dan, I’m still waiting for the day when they remake The Wizard of Oz and JAWS. Both directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp. Those two movies SHOULD BE off limits, in my opinion.

      • That comment alone made me get “Sick” LOL.

        Here’s the gut wretching news for you though boss.

        Both are already at least somewhat in play.

        The Wizard of Oz is not being remade per se, but there are a couple of movies set in that universe at various production points. That was the last I heard. I’m sure they’re still moving forward, they’re not on this year’s docket but we may see WoO movies as early as 2013. Movie Vine tweeted an article the other day that Universal is currently discussing a Jaws remake.

        I retweeted with the addendum “If anyone’s looking for me, I’ll be slitting my wrists” LOL.

        Nothing is sacred to these bastards, bro. Nothing.

  1. I liked 50/50 a lot both for JGL’s performance and for the reactions that he inspired from the people in his life.

    I also liked both “Contagion” and “And The Band Played On”, particularly because they talked about the politics of sickness.

    And since you just recently featured both Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, there’s no denying that “Philadelphia” is a strong contender.

    But the interesting thing is that none of these are really “about” someone being sick, as much as they are about our societal reactions, hangups, and systems.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  2. Princess Bride! Hey! He’s sick in bed! Does it not count?

    Well, I have a strange soft spot for Outbreak. It’s just your typical epidemic gone mad film, but I kinda love it.

    50/50 is a definite in there. Great, great film.

    I remember watching Lorenzo’s Oil when I was young and it was pretty heavy stuff to little me!

    Oh and Bubble Boy… for the lulz.

    • LOL… I actually always thought the Fred Savage was being a little faker in “The Princess Bride” ๐Ÿ˜€

      Bubble. Boy. Oh my god… all I can think of now is Seinfeld, though. I dont know if that show had the same impact across the pond, but here, once Seinfeld got ahold of something, it changed it. Now all I can hear is that voice. ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. I agree with NTEMP on Philadelphia and And the Band Played On.

    Also doctors who are forced to deal with illness personally out of just the clinical setting.
    1)The Doctor – William Hurt acting as a hotshot surgeon experiences his own life-threatening condition. 2) Gross Anatomy – a brilliant med student finds meaning in medicine through a diagnoses of another which he believes is an academic exercise but turns out to be someone he knows.

    Feel better dude: vit C, veg, rest.

    • Thanks S! Already feeling better, not 100% yet, but I’m back on my feet, you know? Appreciate the good wishes…

      I haven’t seen “The Doctor”. Literally and figuratively. Ha!! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Sickness and chick flicky-ness.

      Would it surprise you to hear I havent seen that one?

      In fact, it’s not even the movie I’m thinking of, I was confused with “A walk in the Clouds” with Keanu. LOL. Which I havent seen either. But I can make pretend Keanu quotes in my head for that one at least.


      • I would say by no means is it a “must see” for you……hahaha

        It’s definitely geared for teens….I showed it to my youth group….it’s a good wholesome message.

      • Here you go: I will give you the 30 second synopsis (it’s too late…you’ll never be able to NOT read this….curiosity WILL get the better of you)
        Bad boy gets in trouble. Good girl “assigned” to him to help him learn lines for the school play (his punishment.) He falls in love with her (against her advice not to), ditching all of his friends in the process. Her father (of course he is the local preacher) thinks they are getting too serious for her to hind “the truth” from him. She tells him she has leukemia. Together they complete her bucket list, with the exception of her “wanting a miracle”. They get married and she dies a year later. Bad boy returns to town 4 years later to visit her father…tells him he got into med school. He apologizes that she never got her miracle. The father tells him….”You were her miracle”. The End

        Now when your niece becomes a teenager and ever asks…’re informed! You’re welcome. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. As yet ANOTHER guilty pleasure, (cant seem to get away from them,) Sweet November ranks in my top 10 with aperfectly played bumbling Keanu and Luminous Charlize that breaks your heart! Brilliance.

    • Ohhhhh shit. Noooo.

      No no no.

      Cause then this would be What’s YOUR Favorite Zombie Movie? Cmon. You know that almost any Zombie movie is going to be better than 95% of the tearjerkers out there. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Judges say? DENIED

      Plus, as “The Walking Dead” has reecently illustrated with the whole “Barn” fiasco, Zombies are Zombies. Not sick humans. ๐Ÿ˜€

      (But post up a link to your Zombie article dude, give everyone an easy way to read it! :D)

  5. One film that I particularly like that is centered around the theme of sickness and plague is Visconti’s Death in Venice. It’s beautifully filmed and the score by Mahler is exquisite.

    Lee (#126 on the Campaign Challenge List)
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

    • That one sent me to Wikipedia Arlee, foreign films are not my strong suit.

      Definitely sounds like a classic though.

      I should get off my butt and start my foreign/classic catch up series and address deficiencies such as these one of these days.

    • Oh yeah, Forrest… “I’ll take care of you, if you’re sick…”

      Million Dollar Baby is pretty hardcore. But I dont think I’ll ever forgive it for pulling that on us. I went in not expecting that at all, and it was just gut wretching. I remember being like, I didn’t sign up for THAT. LOL

      Not a flick I revisit.

      Forrest is though. RUN FORREST RUN!!

  6. Drunken Angel! Matsunaga starts off the film with a visit to Dr. Sanada, and then gets diagnosed with TB; it’s very much about Matsunaga playing tough to avoid showing off how scared he is of his illness, though he’s scared of a lot of things on top of that. So, not strictly an “illness” movie, but that’s a central part of its plot and narrative. If I’m reaching into the Kurosawa bin to fit the question, I’d probably be better off with Ikiru.

    Another good one that’s probably lesser known (well, maybe not; it did win the Best Foreign Language Oscar in 2004)– The Barbarian Invasions. Very strong, emotional, and smart, though some might take it as being kind of anti-American.

    • “Some might take it as being kind of anti-American.”

      Some might take your reply as anti-American, Andrew.

      LOL… sorry, couldnt resist. :p

      Kurosawa is like the one foreign director I actually have a shot at having seen his films, and yet, Ikiru is not checked off on my list, so…

      “Fogs goes Foreign” “Fogs’ Foreign Forray” “Somethin Somethin Fogs starts Catchin up on Foreign Flicks” Coming soon… LOL

  7. I’m throwing Chan-wook Park’s Thirst into the ring.

    What starts out as a priest’s struggle to cure a virulent epidemic turns into his descent into vapirism (also considered a sickness for a double whammy?) and a bizarre, murderous and tragic love story. Beautifully shot and acted with an unexpected sense of humor, it’s a lush and unique take on the modern vampire – one who doesn’t shimmer, thank God. The closing “fight” scene is completely worth the sometimes meandering 2+ hour run-time.

    Anyone who can spin a story as insurmountably depressing as Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance is eternally okay in my book.

    • Have to wave the white flag on this one too, unfortunately, the only one of Park’s films I’ve seen is “Old Boy”. Which I will say was a pretty sick film in and of itself.

      The man certainly has his admirers here stateside though, undoubtedly.

      Thanks for pitching in, Meric!

      • You should finish out the Vengeance Trilogy (you know, when you get time in what seems like an onslaught of movie watching – truly amazing!) even if Lady Vengeance is a bizarre (failed?) experiment in Asian story-telling. I can only recall thinking “what the hell?” about 90% of the time and not much else. But if you like the reasonable twists and turns of Old Boy, Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance is equally the delicious and disturbing tale of deceit and best-laid plans gone horribly awry.

      • “I can only recall thinking “what the hell?” about 90% of the time and not much else.”

        Ha! Yeah, that’s how I felt watching Old Boy actually.

        I may go on a rampage with these one day though, they get a lot of props, and Old Boy was really good… if decidedly sick. LOL

    • There we go Blain. Now we’re talkin’.

      Love em both.

      That scene in Magnolia where Juliane Moore loses her shit at the pharmacy is ridiculous. And Jason Robards with his “Life is too long”… comment? Oh. Man.

      The Fountain is some trippy shit, too. I had forgotten that she was sick in that flick, actually, LOL. I think the end of it just kind of overpowered my recollection of the rest of it… I havent seen it recently, I totally need to again. He’s a freaking genius.

      Actually, they both are LOL.

  8. Are you contagious? Seems to be the year for it! “Contagion” was OK, but “Perfect Sense” was more interesting. A virus infects mankind and one by one they lose all their senses. Scary premise, very well done! Gives any viewer a lot to think about, including the already virus ridden! Lots of chicken soup for you(wonton works) and don’t forget your flu vaccine!


    • Contagion was awesome!! No? Aww man, I thought it was really good…

      I’ll put “Perfect Sense” on my radar. And actually, maybe some Wonton Soup in my belly. Chinese delivery sounds like Just What the Doctor Ordered!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  9. Since my thesis partially on zombie films I’d argue that depending on the film it could count.

    How about E.T.? He’s homesick. That’s sort of a sickness…

    I’ll second Contagion and Outbreak. I feel like someone has to mention ‘Terms of Endearment’ at some point. Andromeda Strain might fit in there. I though ‘Life as a House’ was good. Same with ‘Flawless’.

    • OOOH. The Andromeda Strain. That’s a good one.

      ET Physically gets sick, too, ok, ok…

      Are you seriously doing a thesis on… zombie films? They allow that somewhere? I feel like that’s the living embodiment of the PCU “Caine Hackman Theory”. LOL

      • Sort of. I’m writing/wrote a screenplay (which has zombies). The other part of the thesis to make it legit (and I suppose to prove I learned something at school) is doing a bunch of critical analysis stuff with films and I focus a lot on zombie and apocalyptic films and literature.

        Funnily enough I referenced PCU and other “college” films in the critical part of my paper. And Muppets and Slacker, and some other odd choices.

  10. My favorite “sick” movie would have to be Philadelphia. It such a moving movie, which makes me cry all throughout the movie. I’m such a baby. LOL Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington are such an odd pair, but it works. Too bad they haven’t done another movie together.

    • Yeah, I am, thanks T. Appreciate the well wishes.

      Its not actually my preferred sub genre either… but I wasn’t exactly at the top of my game when it was time to come up with this week’s topic, and as you can imagine, it was on my mind…

      We’ll be back to the fun stuff before you know it!

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